Tag Archives: kf karting

An interview with Fairuz Fauzy – Karter turned Lotus F1 driver

At the beginning of this year’s Formula One season yet another former karter’s name featured on the entry list. Nothing extraordinary about that you might say. But for Lotus, and Fairuz Fauzy, it was very significant indeed.

BY ADAM JONES

After 16 years away, the iconic Lotus name was back in F1 – and for Fauzy it marked his return to the premier category after briefly figuring in 2007, as Spyker’s reserve driver. Today’s Lotus Racing may be tipping a reverential nod to Colin Chapman’s traditional 1green and yellow colour scheme of the Sixties – it is even based in Norfolk – but Tony Fernandes’ version of ‘the British Ferrari’ is a very different outfit altogether.

Full of respect for the heritage they may be, but Mike Gascoyne and his technical team’s thinking behind theT127 is far from Chapman-esque. It is conservative rather ground-breaking, solid rather than spectacular. Although, like many of Chapman’s cars, the 2010 Lotus did experience a few teething problems on it’s first run. Furthermore, after he famously introduced sponsorship into the sport and changed his cars’ traditional colours to the red and gold of Gold Leaf, the wily genius signalled that racing teams could only prosper with outside investment, and in that respect the marque remains true to its founder’s inspired thinking. Proton now owns the road car brand, and with a global marketing opportunity other Malaysian companies have been keen to invest – and a talented, home-grown driver has only made the proposition all the more attractive.

Not that Fairuz Fauzy would completely agree that he is Lotus’ third driver simply by virtue of hailing from Kuala Lumpur. He asserts that he is in F1 on merit and genuinely believes that he has the ability to be world champion. After spending a couple of enjoyable hours in his company, what strikes you is his passion for karting and how hard he worked to achieve his chance with Lotus. Most impressive of all though, was the fact that despite being an F1 driver with the world’s media following him around, he wanted to hang out at his Mofaz Racing team HQ in Wellingborough and talk to Karting Magazine – even if lunch turned out to be nothing more than a bottle of water.

Like many youngsters, Fairuz started his karting career at a young age, but it wasn’t in Cadets, rather and quite remarkably, it was in a Formula A kart. “There were no categories (in Malaysia at the time). I was just eight or nine years old and we had to put somewhere between 40 to 50 kilos of lead ballast on the kart. I was the only one (of a similar age),” he explained. “There was no proper structure. I was up against 27 plus drivers and in my first heat I finished 5th but in the final I DNF’d – my chain came off but I’d shown my potential. From there, I won 5 times in a row.”

By the time he was 12, he had begun competing outside Malaysia, in international events and often against adults. He claimed a famous first victory in 1995, competing in a round of the British Super 1 TKM championship at Buckmore Park. Back in Asia, a string of consecutive ASEAN titles followed, prompting his decision to graduate to cars. After sitting down with his father – who designed the kart circuits at Sepang and Langkawi and had a dealership selling Tony Kart, CRG and Formula Rotax products amongst other things – it was decided that Fairuz would move to England in order to race in the 2000 Formula Ford Zetec championship. His karting career was not completely over however and he went back to successfully defend his ASEAN title – a feat he repeated a year later, having made a successful move into Formula Renault.

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On track for practice at his home GP

At this point it is worth noting that he and his family had already made several sacrifices to get that far. Not only had Fairuz uprooted himself from his homeland and his family to carve out a new life and career in Britain, but his father had had to sell the family home to finance it. Moreover, he’d done something almost unthinkable today – he’d said ‘no’ to Michael Schumacher’s manager, Willi Weber who had approached him after the 1998 season. “I missed my chance,” he shrugs before reminding me that at the time, Asia’s tiger economy had just collapsed. “Doing Formula Ford cost me a lot more money because I wasn’t a Red Bull driver,” he adds with a wry smile.

What he may have lacked in finances, he more than made up for with strong results. Two years in Formula 3 lead to a berth in GP2, first with DAMS followed by a season with David Sears’ Super Nova equipe. A stint with Malaysia’s A1GP team convinced the bosses at Spyker to take him on as their test and reserve driver. The ill-starred project saw him free to move into the World Series by Renault championship, where he really made his mark. High-profile podiums underlined his burgeoning reputation and opened the door for a crack at GP2 Asia, again with Super Nova, with whom he took victory in Indonesia and podium finishes at Sentul, Dubai and Sepang. He dove-tailed these outings with further A1GP events before returning to WSbR and finishing 2nd overall, prompting a call from Tony Fernandes’ nascent Lotus Racing F1 project.

Even though he is now firmly placed at the pinnacle of the sport, Fairuz maintains a passionate interest in karting and is a big fan of Rotax because it is a “a cheaper option than Formula A,” as he keeps referring to Super KF as if to underline his old skool credentials, adding “it has helped a lot to promote karting.” Consequently karting is now very popular in Malaysia, and his success has created further interest.

“I am an inspiration for younger kids and there are two or three talented Malaysian karters coming through right now,” he says, but acknowledges that the process has been slow despite the initial excitement created by Alex Yoong’s spell at Minardi. “F1 has come to Malaysia, but we still lack the ‘software’ – people coming through. I was considered a prototype and have the Mofaz team to put something back.” He tells me to look out for fellow Malaysian prospects Nabil Jeffri and Aaron Lim.

As his karting career took off, Fairuz proudly recalls CRG backing him and being run by Dino Chiesa, who at the time was masterminding Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg’s great success in European karting, “he was one of the best,” Fauzy affirms with a big smile.

Despite his F1 and Mofaz AKA Lotus Junior Team commitments, karting still plays a big part in Fairuz’s life and he still gets back into a kart whenever he’s back home in Malaysia – “I do it for fun. In Kuala Lumpur, I practice in a DD2 – which is good value. Karting is too much money now. That’s why I think Rotax is good for the sport. It’s proven that it has created a ladder to single seaters. Rotax has created a great opportunity.”

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Racing on a CRG in Malaysia

At this point, he voices an intriguing theory. “I think the current Senior category should become the Junior class and DD2 become Senior. I think that will be good. The DD2 is like Formula Renault – because it now has a paddle-shift gearbox. You need to replicate what happens in FRenault.”

Fairuz also wants to reduce costs and is clearly aware of the difficulties facing drivers with smaller budgets. He suggests “the next generation of karting will move to the Far East because Europe is so expensive” and he highlights former KF1 star Richard Bradley’s decision to compete in the Formula BMW Asia series rather than its European counterpart as a refreshing example of a driver willing to buck the trend. He also looks a little pained that more UK-based drivers haven’t opted to race in Asia and the Far East in light of that part of the world’s willingness to buy and sell our products. He proudly points out that his family also sold Fullerton and Wright karts.

When asked if any of the skills he learnt in karting have been transferable to F1, Fairuz says “I enjoyed my karting days because you train your senses. It’s good for basic skills – smoothness and control. Skills from karts to F1? You need to be smooth and aggressive…when you need to be.”

Karting also conditions and prepares the body, especially when racing on sticky tyres. “With high grip levels – you can feel it in your neck.” There is a slight pause before he confides, “Karting is more tiring (than F1). There’s more vibration – you’ll see all the bruises. It teaches racecraft as well. Last year I could follow a car really well. It was like a go-kart only with aero and downforce.”

Fairuz says that in cars, it is easy to spot the ex kart racers. “If they’re not quick in quali’ they’re quick in the race. They know when to push. Kart racing teaches you to plan when to attack and tyre management.”

Given that his family had dealings with legends like Terry Fullerton and he himself became a successful driver, I wondered if Fairuz would admit to having his own personal heroes. His eyes lit up like a Christmas tree, “I looked up to Alessandro Manetti and Danilo Rossi.”

He succumbs to the temptation and picks up an issue of Karting Magazine and flicks through it. “Asia needs a Karting Magazine. Motorsport is shifting to Asia. The British are more passionate than the rest of Europe. F1 is run by the British, that’s why I’m here!” he says in a rapid-fire series of statements.

Inevitably and with the British Grand Prix looming in the calendar, the conversation turns to his role at Lotus.

“I’m their Reserve and Test driver. Last year, Tony (Fernandes) came to me and said he wanted to set up an F1 team. I thought he was joking. He and Nino (Judge, the Team Principal) had a good package. They got their slot quite late and I said ‘no way can you build a car in six months’ but they did. To get the people and put the infrastructure in place (for an F1 effort) is not easy. It took Stewart GP seven races to get a car to the finish and we did it (first time??). I think we’re doing really good.”

Much as the team has been successful at the back of the field in its battle with fellow newcomers Virgin and Hispania, Fairuz says the aim is now beat the midfield and finish in the points. “We just need a bit more pace, to have a car you can attack with,” he says with candour.

Apart from Sepang, Silverstone will be his home race. Literally. “I’m really looking for to it and the new track. I live 200 metres from it. Honestly, the Rally School goes right past my front door!” he says with genuine delight.

After a difficult start to the season, which had at the time of writing, yet to yield any points for the team, Fairuz won’t be drawn on whether or not he will be given a race seat chance ahead of schedule, preferring to state his aspirations based around his current role, whilst supporting his colleagues. “Nowadays there’s no test team, so I hope to get every Friday. Heikki is doing a good job and Jarno is just having bad luck. They’re both very friendly. You know, I started with Heikki (in Formula Renault) – although he was just a little quicker getting to F1,” he acknowledges with his customary honesty.

There is a steeliness when he adds, “I’ve got the personality to be in that circle (F1). Any opportunity I have to present and deliver, I’ll take it. I don’t want just to be an F1 driver – I want to be the best.”

It reappears albeit without any hint of irritation when it’s suggested that perhaps the latest incarnation of Lotus is in name only. Fairuz sees himself as part of a new chapter of the same legacy that the likes of Moss, Clark, Hill, Rindt, Fittipaldi, Senna and Mansell will be forever associated with. “It’s a Malaysian team and I’m a Malaysian. To me, I’ve always wanted to be in F1 and with a great name. The first time I drove the Lotus, I created history. It is a heritage team and to drive for a team that featured Senna is an honour. Of course, I see myself as part of that heritage. I want to be successful, I don’t want to be a failure. There are thousands of drivers who want to be in F1 – it’s a dream. It is very important for me to achieve. There’s been a lot of sacrifice for me and my family.”

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On the podium after winning the ASEAN Kart GP at Langkawi in 2000

It is that last statement that prompts him to offer some advice to young drivers hoping to enjoy a career in motorsport. “Sometimes when you lose it’s a challenge. Life is not easy. Make losing an aim for success. Create a long-term aim. I always plan myself.”

Referencing one of the key ingredients the top teams look for, Fairuz notes that family support is also important, as is education although he is realistic. “It is important but it’s not easy to do both (academic studies and racing). But you can do part-time education. (If it’s your long-term goal) You need to dedicate yourself to motorsport. You can study after you retire but then, if you can do both, then do both.”

At 27, Fairuz is one of the drivers bucking the current trend some teams have favoured in recent years by going for younger drivers, but he believes he is better for taking his time. “I had the opportunity at 16 to come to Europe, but it took longer for me to arrive – but I’m a complete driver. To win in every category I’ve run in is important. Whatever you do in life, think about yourself first. It’s very easy to think you’ve failed when you haven’t got the budget but you just have to do your best. With the budget caps (in F1) smaller teams are coming through and success is more than just money. Money can’t buy you everything. At my age there were a lot of sacrifices. I didn’t party and I don’t drink. I listened to my dad. He said ‘If you want to do it, you do it properly’. At 17, I chose to go to the next step. For me it’s not about the glamour. I want to write my name in the history books. For guys, girls can be a distraction but to be successful you’ve got to stay focused and on track. I got married early (at 23) and by doing that, I could forget girls.”

Girls yes, but karting? No. Talk returns to karting and Fairuz explains that he is keen to get his 3-year old son into karting. “He can steer the (family) car. He knows, he’s interested in cars. I’m looking for a Puffo (Bambino) kart.”

Because his World Series by Renault team is based in a leafy industrial estate outside Wellingborough, Fairuz has the opportunity to occasionally test at Whilton Mill and PFi. “Whilton’s very bumpy. It’s good fun and PFi’s first corner is really fast.”

Although he is a big fan of Rotax, he is reveals that he is something of a purist. “I miss air-cooled engines. The sound is incredible… I miss them.” That said, he is also a realist and pragmatist and counters his own wistfulness. “I have a feeling that karts will be four-stroke with a catalytic converter. Green issues will mean that there’ll be no noise and of course, soon fuel will be too expensive. We may even get electric engines coming in. Of course, I’d prefer old skool but looking at climate change…” His voice trails off.

Fairuz’s comprehensive experience of karts also saw him attempt to race a 150cc Kawasaki-engined machine at Shah Alam. “That was faster than a Formula Campus round there. I was just 12 or 13-years old. I only practiced because they (the organisers) wouldn’t give me a licence to race. I couldn’t feed the gears in. In one session I spun but carried on. Eventually, my times were 2.5 seconds faster than the older drivers.”

The experience does not appear to have put him off gearbox karts, which he says are his favourite machinery alongside F1. “There’s so much to do in a shifter and they teach you good skills.”

His F1 colleagues Alonso, Kubica and Hamilton have their own chassis ranges – indeed his team-mate Trulli, until recently had his own successful brand – and Fairuz says he would ultimately like to create his own series, “Not yet but in the future. I’d like to work with a manufacturer to create the Fauzy Trophy.”

With the interview complete, Fairuz gives me a guided tour of the Junior Lotus Racing team’s factory, where in the workshop Nelson Panciatici is having a seat fitting. It is extremely rare for a driver still looking for his first chance to race in F1 to have a front-running lower formulae team, but then Fauzy is perhaps rarer still. He is clearly now not short of money, but is aware of the sacrifices that have created the opportunities he now has. He argues convincingly that drivers should at least consider staying within the ‘Renault family’ and enjoy top-class racing without slavishly following the norm of F3 and GP2. He deserves listening to because he’s done it and therefore has direct, personal experience. He thinks Rotax should be considered as a serious and cost-effective alternative to the KF classes, with the unloved DD2 kart given a fresh new perspective as to its merits and wants to create a karts-to-cars ladder for kids who are every bit as talented but less financially fortunate than himself.

Thoughtful, direct, aware of how fortunate he is and yet unsentimental about the past. He has already achieved more than many ever will with their careers but remains unfulfilled with regard to his ultimate ambition. Fairuz deserves his F1 break just as karting deserves him too.

Fixing Karting – Why we need to rescue international karting and how to do it

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Oliver Oakes leading Marco Ardigo, Sauro Cesetti and Jonathan Thonon in 2005

The top level of the sport lost Super KF from the World, European and British Championships this year, and it is looking far from healthy in the WSK. With 18 competitors in the last round of the European Championship, KZ1 looks like it is next for the chop by the CIK-FIA for 2011 as the regulations say there must be 20 entries for a championship to go ahead.

There have been some incremental improvements in the Super One package but it has had little or no effect on the entry levels, and we’ve lost the top class for the first time ever. John Hoyle has been tireless in seeking the opinions of competitors, but as KF2 driver Jordan King’s father Justin says, “they need to talk to all the drivers who aren’t there, not just those who are”.

The racing is pretty poor at the moment too. In the World Championship at Cordoba, Argentina in 1994, there was 0.15s difference between 1st and 70th. In the first WSK World Series round this year there was 0.25s between Armand Convers and everyone else and there were less than a third of the drivers!

Mark Rose, who is perhaps the most dedicated of the team managers, is getting disillusioned for the first time.

“Super KF is finished,” he says. “Unless you are one of three people you aren’t going to win.”

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FSA racing at Cordoba in 1994, with Michael Simpson leading

He is relatively happy with KF3. “If a young kid spins off they need to be able to get going again so they need a clutch. The only thing wrong is the carbs as everyone is running expensive carbs  and no one knows how to set them. It’s OK if you are a Super KF driver with 25 years experience.”

Rose’s opinion is that we should concentrate on saving KF2. It is already the World Championship for the first time this year at Zuera in September. “The brakes have got to go, the clutch has got to go,” he says. “There is a way of engaging the gear on the drive sprocket, CRG have got a prototype system, but I don’t see why we shouldn’t go back to push starting. 125cc is fine as there’s lots of power, and if they want to limit power there should be a maximum sprocket for a track.”

Front brakes first appeared in non-gearbox in 2004 on Sodikarts in the hands of Arnaud Sarrazin and Nelson Panciatici, and at first were only used in the rain. They are still banned from Rotax and KF3. In the next homologation period though everyone had a 100cc chassis with front brakes and they became de rigeur in Formula A and ICA, then in Super KF, KF1 and KF2.

Rose argues that the brakes have destroyed the racing that makes karting unique and valuable. “The braking distances are so short a muppet can get round the corner,” he contends. Personally, I haven’t seen a truly classic race since Oliver Oakes won the La Conca round of the European Championship in 2005.

In the last decade, the price of a rolling chassis has doubled to around £3000 for most of them. Paul Spencer of Strawberry Racing once told me that he thought he was pushing it when he raised the price above £1500 for the first time! He says he doesn’t make a great deal more on karts and parts though.

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Electronics and wiring on a modern kart

The Tonykart factory team uses datalogging systems that are estimated to cost £8000 per kart including a system to adjust tyre pressures on the go. There is even reputed to be a message that pops up to tell the drivers to take it easy before they break something. How can your average driver with a bit of talent and an ordinary budget compete with that? No wonder European KF2 Champion Jordan Chamberlain has gone to the CIK’s U18 World Championship after a difficult few races in Super KF.

The wiring looms on the KFs are also prone to breaking down, and provide numerous opportunites to cheat which therefore means to spend a lot of money. With just one wire to the battery to the starter and no ECUs there would be far less scope.

Last year KZ1 looked as though it could be the new premier class with 80 entries for the World Cup, including F1 driver Jaime Alguersuari. There was a greater concentration of experienced and professional drivers and the mainly amateur KZ2 drivers moved up for the occasion. This year, the only engine to have is one tuned by Tec Sav and they cost £3000 a race, and the factories have divided themselves between the CIK races (Intrepid and Maranello) and the WSK (CRG and Tonykart) leaving entries in the teens in both. Hopefully things will improve for the World Cup.

I asked Mark Rose why ordinary karters should care if we lose the KF and KZ classes, after all Rotax Max makes up a huge proportion of British racers and they have a highly successful international racing scene.

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Simplicity from 1994

He said “Rotax is going the same way, although the one good thing is that the engines do actually last 20 hours.” Of course Rotax, and TKM since the beginning of this year, uses the same karts as the KF classes so there are knock-on effects in terms of costs and you could argue that more damage is done to the equipment in Rotax during racing.

“Karting is in crisis, the KF classes are sadly uneconomical and other categories that run sealed engines have become vastly over expensive and chequebook racing has prevailed,” says Andy Cox, the organiser of the planned Kart Grand Prix class. It’s understandable that he says that, but the lack of power valve, front brakes and engine sealing could be argued to be a step forward. In Italy the class is aimed at drivers who are still hanging on to 100cc engines, of which there is still quite a healthy scene there.

So why should the average club or Super One driver should care about the mostly privileged drivers in Super KF and KF2? It’s hard to imagine a footballer on a pub scene being apathetic about the England football team’s useless World Cup and there are opinions being bandied about from the lack of home-grown players in the Premiership to the enforced separation from the WAGs.

It’s difficult to find racing to watch that is anywhere near as good as international karting at it’s best and I think it’s worth preserving on that basis alone, after all, most of us started off as racing fans.

If we don’t look after our home grown karters and their international karting opportunities, we won’t keep producing the best drivers in a sport that we do actually lead the world in. Even though I’m one of the biggest advocates of karting as it’s own sport and mutter in frustration when the head of the CIK implies our main purpose is to keep up the supply of talented youngsters to cars, it’s undeniable that that’s where many teenagers’ interests lie.

Lots of attention is being paid to Bambino and Super Cadet at the moment, good and bad, but just a few years after getting that foundation, it makes economic sense to go into Formula BMW at 15 before Super KF and often KF2, even though it’s far from clear whether cars at that age are at all helpful. The system certainly hasn’t yet produced a GP winner. KF2/Super KF and their predecessors brought us Hamilton, Button, Raikkonen, Alonso, Schumacher and Senna and many others.

James DeHavillande’s EDP Diary

Castelletto pole
James started on pole at Castelletto after causing excitement in qualifying.

Following last month’s first instalment of the Easykart Driver Programme Diaries – in which Cadet stars Ronan McKenzie and William Stowell noted their experiences of life as part of Birel’s ladder of talent – this issue sees 2009 Cadet champion (and now Junior star) James DeHavillande describe his visit to the Castelletto circuit near Milan. James also competed in a round of the Italian Easykart Championship and tested a works Birel/BMB KF3 kart.

Friday 23 July 2010

We arrived at the track at about 8.30am and found the Birel race truck and awning. Whilst the Birel staff were getting organised I went for a track walk – and the first thing I noticed, was just how sticky the racing line was. If you stood still for a couple of minutes, your shoes started sticking to the track – far more grip than we experience in UK racing.

Even this early in the day the heat was building and I was glad to get back into the shade. As a spectator, just walking around the paddock was quite draining – so as a driver it was going to be a physically testing day, when lots of fluids would be essential. Consequently, I drank about 4 litres of water each day. The track was also beside a lake, so mosquitoes were another issue to contend with – I was covered in bites.

The testing sessions were for 40 minutes per hour, so I had plenty of track time to fine tune my set-up.

Saturday 24th July 2010

First day of official practice. We checked out the opposition with our stopwatch and I seemed to be on the pace, so looked forward to the Sunday racing.

Sunday 25th July 2010

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British EDP drivers Ronan McKenzie, Will Stowell and James DeHavillande

We changed to new tyres ready for the timed qualifying session. With 42 drivers entered for the junior class, qualifying was split into two groups. In the first session Dario Orsini recorded the fastest lap of 52.056 seconds, but as the second session got under way I found it difficult to find some clear air on the circuit and my best time was a tenth off Orsini’s. However, as I approached the start/finish line for my last lap, I dropped back to get some space and then put in a 50.047, which had the commentator screaming into his microphone. I had taken pole. The Birel management considered it to be an exceptional performance for my first race at the track and against the top drivers from the Easykart Driver Programme, who’d had previous experience at Castelletto.

I started from pole in the Pre-Final and led to the chequered flag. Unfortunately I was called up before the stewards. In Italy they use a speed camera and I had taken the pack across the line too fast. The stewards explained that as the pole man, it was my responsibility to control the starting pace and then gave me a 5 second penalty!

This put me on grid six for the Final. When we lined up, seven of the top eight drivers were from the EDP – I had some serious opposition.

As the lights went out for the start, I leapt up to 2nd place at the first corner but only held this position briefly before being smashed from behind and sent across the grass. A large bump in the ground sent me airborne before I crash-landed, nose first.

I was strapped onto a stretcher with a full, head-restraint and carried to the side of the track. It was too dangerous for the paramedics to cross the track whilst the race continued, but eventually they took me to the ambulance and doctor. From there, I was transferred to the local hospital for an X-ray.

With no broken bones, but feeling very battered and bruised, although otherwise OK, I was discharged.

Monday 26th July 2010

After a hot bath and a good breakfast, I declared myself ready for the KF3 test.

For the first session, I just had to do a few laps to ensure the engine reached the correct temperature and then came in to have some tape put over the radiator. After a couple more though, I had to pit because my back was causing a lot of pain. The Birel managers offered to re-schedule the test, but I said that I would rather carry on.

Gradually my lap times improved as I got to grips with the different driving style needed for the KF3 kart and the set-up moved towards the optimum. Unfortunately, the track closed before I could try one of the team’s full race engines.

Overall, I think they were pleased with my performances in the Easykart races and the KF3 test. Consequently, I’m now hopeful that I have done enough to justify a place in the factory Birel team.

Wilson set for KF Junior move with Strakka

MSA British IAME Cadet champion Teddy Wilson will graduate to international KF Junior racing next season, and is being lined up to become the next Briton to race for the Zanardi Strakka Racing squad. The 13-year-old claimed the MSA Cadet title at the final round of the season at PF International, ahead of rivals Kiern Jewiss, Jonny Edgar and Tom Wood with the Fusion Motorsport outfit. Wilson has undergone KF Junior testing with three European teams since claiming his British crown.

“It was always the plan to move to KF Junior next year, regardless of whether Teddy took the MSA title,” his dad Andrew said. “It’s the best route to move up a level, as I’m not a fan of Rotax racing. We had considered moving Teddy into Minikarts [European Cadet racing] 12 months ago but opted for another year and targeted the title.”

Wilson Sr said the British title has now given the youngster move credibility as he moves into international competition.
“The European teams actively want to have a British Cadet kid in their awning as they have more racecraft and aggression about them, and particularly after what British drivers have achieved in the last couple of years with [world champions]

Lando Norris and Enaam Ahmed.”

Having previously tested with Energy Corse and the TonyKart factory squad, Wilson tested with the Zanardi Strakka Racing team at Lonato last week. He would become the fourth Brit to race with the team. Daniel Ticktum competed in KF Junior this season, with Callum Ilott racing alongside factory racer Tom Joyner in KF.
Wilson is putting together a two-year plan in KF Junior before making a car racing switch when he turns 16.

 

Flynn tips Sargeant for 2015 success

Sargeant & AhmedBritish karting boss Ricky Flynn reckons American youngster Logan Sargeant can compete for internatonal KF honours in 2015 and match the achievements of World & European champ Enaam Ahmed. Sargeant competed in his first year of KF Junior competition this season with the Essex-based squad as an understudy to Ahmed but will now graduate to KF racing in 2015 following his TaG Jr victory at the recent Las Vegas SuperNationals.

“Enaam learnt massively in 2013 with Dan Ticktum, Lando Norris and Niko Kari all in their final junior year. But at the last race of the season in Bahrain, Enaam put it on pole for the final. That’s exactly what has happened with Logan this year. Logan is now where Enaam was 12 months ago.

“The first year jump from Cadet to KF Junior racing is big. It takes them a little while to develop and get physically strong enough. When they jump into a kart which has twice the power and twice the grip, and twice the weight, it’s a different animal for them. So they spend a few months feeling comfortable but come midseason, they begin to get positive results with peaks and troughs. By the end of the year they become a more rounded driver, ready to take on the following season.”

 

Webb Claims Magnificent Euromax Title Win

Harry Webb completed an astounding turnaround to clinch the European Senior Rotax title despite missing the opening round of the season.Webb missed the first weekend at Genk but stormed through the rest of the season, claiming victory in each pre-final and final in the remaining four weekends of the year, including at the final round at Salbris. Webb then went on to compete at the World

KF Championship with the Strawberry Racing squad.“The third round of the season at Zuera was the turning point,” Webb said. “Before then, I hadn’t even contemplated the title having missed out at Genk. I knew that I couldn’t have a bad round as Genk was my dropped round. I also learned from the experience of being excluded from last year’s round at Salbris.”Webb travelled to Essay immediately after his title triumph to begin testing and said he has wanted to compete in KF machinery for some time.“I think KF is a good class, despite the criticism it can receive,” he added. “The Dunlop tyres in KF are a big difference between that and Rotax. They’re much harder and affect the kart’s handling. The KF power is more fun too. You can constantly hit the rev limiter in Rotax whereas the KF just keeps going.”

Lennox-Lamb: Max’s Rise Good For Karting

Jordon Lennox-Lamb believes that Max Verstappen’s rapid rise to F1 after only a single year in cars will have a positive impact on the sport of karting. The CRG factory driver was Verstappen’s team-mate during the Dutchman’s time with the Italian squad. “Karting paddocks have been getting smaller and smaller over recent years,” Briton Lennox-Lamb said. “You see many drivers getting to a high level of car racing now. But I never remember them in karting because some of them probably didn’t compete at the high-level or didn’t kart at all. “I think Max’s rise from karting into F1 is going to help the sport a lot. It has been said that karting is not important and drivers need to have more mileage in cars. Well Max has only had nine months in cars and he’s already been handed an F1 seat. That tells you everything you need to know about the influence karting had on that decision, and what karting does to prepare a driver for their future career.”

Ilott : Title A Special Moment

Callum Ilott says claiming the CIK-FIA European KF title was a special moment in his career to date.Ilott, who plans to graduate into single-seater racing next year, scored a comfortable final win at the final round of the championship at PF International last month. It is Ilott’s second title of the year following victory in the WSK Super Masters Series, but the first CIK-FIA honour in his four-year international karting career to date.“I’ve won WSK titles and finished runner-up at the World Cup in 2012,” Ilott said, “but knowing that I’m a CIK-FIA outright champion gives me a huge self-confidence boost heading to the end of the season. It’s not sunk in yet. This victory takes the pressure off me heading into the rest of the season. I don’t get carried away with results, I’m pretty level headed, but we now need to focus ahead of the remaining weekends.”